Nuke Mars To Terraform It, Says Elon Musk
Tesla CEO (and boy genius) Elon Musk has suggested that Mars was a "fixer-upper of a planet" and thinks there might be a fast way to get the ball rolling.
(Elon Musk discusses terraforming Mars on Colbert's show)
To begin with, Musk said, human residents on the red planet would need to live in “transparent domes”. Before a move to more hospitable habitats one needs only “to warm it up” and Musk thinks there's a fast way and a slow way to do that.
The fast way “is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles” and the slow way “is to release greenhouse gases, like we are doing on Earth.” Musk didn't explain why we should nuke Mars' poles, but presumably turning the ice caps into steam will help to make the red planet rather damper and heat it up along the way.
Science fiction authors have thought long and hard about terraforming; the word "terraform" was coined by Jack Williamson in his 1941 story Collision Orbit.
The earliest true description was probably from Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon in 1930:
On the other hand, Mars could not be made habitable without first being stocked with air and water; and such an undertaking seemed impossible. There was nothing for it, then, but to attack Venus. The polar surfaces of that planet, shielded by impenetrable depths of cloud, proved after all not unendurably hot. Subsequent generations might perhaps be modified so as to withstand even the sub-arctic and "temperate" climates...
(Read more about planets made habitable)
I should also point out that H.G. Wells obliquely mentioned this idea; see the discussion in the article on the red weeds from his 1898 novel The War of the Worlds.
Via The Register.
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